First class to be inducted into Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame Saturday

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Kent Jones and Steve Williams say they got the idea of a Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame 20 years ago.

Finally, after a lot of discussion, the local Hall of Fame has become a reality.

Steve Williams graduated from Gulfport High School in 1979 and was a standout defensive back for the dominating 1978 Admirals football team and later at Jackson State.

"I noticed that Biloxi had a sports Hall of Fame and so I knew we had way more talent then Biloxi," Williams said. "I know I'm biased being from Gulfport. Kenny (Jones) and I always talk about sports and we said if Biloxi can do it, why not Gulfport?"

Kent Jones played on the 1979 Harrison Central Red Rebels football team, and was a super running back. Reggie Bush had nothing on Jones, who helped the Red Rebels post nine wins and two losses and a Shrimp Bowl victory.

"We just felt like Gulfport being the second largest city in the state, it's about time," stated Jones.

Fourteen people will be inducted into the Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame during the first ceremony Sat., June 14, at the Orange Grove Community Center. Included in that class will be Bert Jenkins, who is one of the all-time great high school basketball coaches in the United States.

"We feel that coach Jenkins is one of the all-time greats," Jones said. "He's a living legend. Coach Van Chancellor had a high school state championship, he helped the SEC dominate when he was at Ole Miss, won the first four WNBA championships, and was later at LSU. He's a living legend as well."

Former Gulfport High School track and field coach Prince Jones, who led the Admirals and Lady Admirals to 11 state titles, will be among the inductees, as well as one of his former standout long jumpers, Brittany Reese.

"Brittany Reese is a gold medalist. She's superb. We're tickled pink as well to have her to be part of this Hall of Fame class," said Jones.

A few other names of interest who will be recognized include Mahmoud Adbul-Rauf, Ray White, Joe Sam Owen, Lenny Callahan and NFL Hall of Famers Lem Barney and Jerome Barkum.